The Surprising Truth About Identity Theft and Co-Signing

The Sad Truth About Co-Signing and Identity Theft

Some people commit identity theft for profit while others do it because they feel as though there is no other choice. There are some things in this world that you really can't live without including housing and transportation. Unfortunately, without good credit, it can be hard to provide oneself and family with these things. However, a co-signer can change all that. But what if someone doesn't have a friend or relative willing to co-sign for them? That's when identity theft can happen.

An Unwilling Co-Signer

There is never an excuse to commit identity theft, but some people feel as though they have no other choice when they are faced with no place to live or no way to get to work. These identity theft perpetrators don't necessarily see themselves as criminals, but rather as victims. That's when the crime begins.

Let's say you have a friend or relative who needs a place to live. They apply for an apartment lease but their credit isn't good enough. They need a co-signer. The apartment manager gives the application a co-signer application, tells them to find someone willing to co-sign and sends them on their way.

You are now asked to co-sign, but you decline because you are not sure about your friend or family member's ability to fulfill the financial obligation of the contract. You think that's the end of it, until a few months later you're being asked to fork out cash because the applicant defaulted and you were on file as a co-signer.

How did it happen? You've just become one of the many victims of co-signer identity theft.

More Blame to Go Around

Now, technically, car loan companies, apartment managers and others extending lines of credit or entering into contracts are never supposed to accept a co-signer application unless it's in person because it is NOT uncommon for people needing co-signers to commit identity theft if they have no one willing to do it. That doesn't, however, mean that these people play by the rules and co-signed applications are often accepted without the co-signer ever being present.

Your Responsibility

If you don't want to find yourself in the above situation, never give friends or family members personal information that could be used to commit identity theft. Remember, your friends and family may not mean to hurt you intentionally, but they may honestly feel as though they have no other option.

Many of today's identity theft victims are shocked and horrified when they find out that the person who stole their identity was someone they knew. Don't put yourself at risk of this type of identity theft crime.

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